Polly Logan: the best of Republicanism by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

Massachusetts Republican Party grande dame Polly Logan, 88, died on September 30, a day when the national GOP showed again how it has become the antithesis of what she stood for. Polly, who lived on the South Shore, was a former Republican National Committeewoman, State Committeewoman, head of the Massachusetts Republican Club and more. She was a Frank Sargent type of Republican, socially liberal and fiscally conservative, in short, a classic New England Republican. She could weave coalitions from people of different factions, and could energize young people about the nobility and fun of politics. Her astute skills, and her ready laugh (a cackle that could be recognized in a crowd of hundreds), made her a force to be reckoned with. She was a feminist and proud of it and was to the left of her party, even back when her party was measurably much less conservative than it is today. She loved entertaining, at her home in Hingham and later at her residence in Cohasset. It was nothing for her to have a tent thrown up in her backyard, with ample food and beverage, and, even if a rain storm turned the ground to a bog and mud was tracked all over her living room, she laughed it off. There was nothing as satisfying to her as a boisterous political gathering. Reporters loved her. She never pulled her punches. She told the truth with fierce honesty and humor. Though she was born in Iowa and went to college in Nebraska, she fit right into Boston, whose airport was named for the uncle of her husband, the late General Ed Logan. She served as an advisor to Governor Frank Sargent and was part of the transition team for Governor Weld and late Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci. She was an overseer at Harvard and the Museum of Fine Arts and was a founder of the Doric Dames State House Guides. According to the family, she was also a founder of the Mass. Women’s Political Caucus and a board member of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. How perfect that she also founded the Garden Club of Cohasset. I was pleased when Polly asked me to serve on the founding board of the Polly Logan Fund at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Its work mentoring young women to go into politics is a fitting tribute to this iconic woman, whose imprint is left on so much of Massachusetts and who will long be remembered for her contributions. I welcome your comments in the section below.

One Response to Polly Logan: the best of Republicanism by Marjorie Arons-Barron

  1. Marie says:

    Lowell’s version of Polly Logan was the iconic Lydia Howard – charming, tough, politically skilled, committed, hard-working, generous, pulled no punches to get towards her goal of what was best for the community, her institutions, her culture and the people – she braved the Congress and Sun Editor Clement Costello! She was a warm, gracious and loyal friend. A bit of her obituary:
    Lydia S. Howard
    … Lowell Library’s (Pollard memorial library now) first female trustee
    Lydia S. (Smith) Howard, 81 a resident of the Belvidere section of the
    city for many years, died Nov. 27 in Brentwood, N.H. She was the wife of
    the late Woodbury Fiske Howard, an attorney and Lowell mayor, with whom she
    was married to for 27 years.
    She was born in Ilion, N.Y., on Jan. 18, 1915, a daughter of Burley and
    Margaret L. (Merry) Smith. She was a communicant of St. Anne’s Episcopal
    Church in Lowell, and was the first woman vestry. Mrs. Howard was a 1935
    graduate of Vassar College, and was a 1935 graduate of Vassar College Alumnae Association.
    Prior to her retirement, she taught at Shawsheen School in Tewksbury, and
    was asubstitute teacher in Lowell schools. She was also a PTA officer at
    Oaklands School (now called Leblanc School) in Lowell. Mrs. Howard was
    director for several organizations, including the Massachusetts Society for
    the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Lowell Art Association, Paint and
    Power Club, Lowell Day Nursery and YWCA. She was the first female trustee
    at Lowell City Library, where she served as vice chairman. During her
    tenure, she spearheaded the restoration of Memorial Hall and formed the French Department at the Library. Mrs. Howard was a board member of the Lowell Museum and its second president (1977-78), but the first president to raise money for its operation. She recognized the need to use the history and resources of the city as a foundation for the National Park, the Lowell Museum provided a gathering place for information and educational programs needed in the early days of the Park. She was also the past chairman of the Republican City Committee, going as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Miami (1968)….